Colorado vs. Harvard Game Preview
By the numbers:
2013-2014 record: 5-1
Injury Report: none
Starters: Spencer Dinwiddie; 14.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.8 spg Askia Booker; 11.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.7 spg Xavier Johnson; 10.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.0 spg, .560 fg% Wesley Gordon; 9.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.0 bpg, .613 fg% Josh Scott; 12.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, .558 fg%, .824 ft%
2013-2014 record: 4-0
Injury Report: Brandyn Curry, Kenyatta Smith
Starters: Siyani Chambers; 8.5 ppg, 4.8 apg, 1.8 spg Laurent Rivard; 7.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.3 spg, .368 3p fg% Wesley Saunders; 17.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.0 spg, 1.5 bpg, .548 fg% Kyle Casey; 10.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.3 spg, 1.3 bpg, .486 fg% Steve Moundou-Missi; 10.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.0 bpg, .536 fg%
Colorado welcomes an undefeated (4-0) Harvard basketball team to Boulder on Sunday. The Buffaloes are currently riding their own five-game winning streak (5-1) after an opening night loss to Baylor. Harvard is bringing a depleted roster, with starters Brandyn Curry and Kenyatta Smith having missed games with injuries. Despite Harvard's injuries, they're still a legitimate threat to defeat Colorado at home. Wesley Saunders leads this deep Harvard team with NCAA Tournament aspirations.
Here are Colorado's three keys to a victory over Baylor:
Contain Wesley Saunders
Junior Wesley Saunders is picking up right where he left off in 2012-2013, carrying Harvard through his excellent all-around play. Saunders leads Harvard in scoring, and he's been their go-to option since Brandyn Curry got injured after their first game against Holy Cross. Saunders is doing everything for Harvard sans Curry. He's averaging 17 ppg, 5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.7 spg and 1.3 spg. Saunders is going to put up his numbers. But if Colorado can contain him, make him really work offensively, they'll be well on their way to a victory.
Limit Laurent Rivard From Deep
Colorado's opponents have shot the 3-pointer very well against the Buffaloes this year. They're shooting .382 fg% from three this year, and are making 8.2 three's per game. Senior Laurent Rivard is by far Harvard's best threat from three. Rivard is close to becoming Harvard's all-time leader in 3-pointers made, and he has a .401 fg% from three in his career. He's only shooting .368 % from three this year, but he's capable of filling it up from beyond the arc. Rivard needs to be limited, because if he gets it going from three, it opens up the court for the rest of his teammates, particularly Saunders.
Feed Josh Scott Down Low, Early And Often
Josh Scott is Colorado's best option down low, and he'll need to be effective against Harvard. Scott is Colorado's second-leading scorer behind Spencer Dinwiddie, and he's also been one of Colorado's most efficient players. Scott is currently posting a 123.9 offensive rating according to kenpom stats, but he only uses 19.8% of Colorado's possessions. That figure needs to go up. Additionally, Harvard has a key injury among their big men. Senior center Kenyatta Smith, a starter, hasn't played this year due to an injury. Junior Steve Moundou-Missi has started in his place and performed well. But he's listed at 6-foot-7. Kyle Casey, 6-foot-7, and Wesley Saunders, 6-foot-5, comprise the rest of Harvard's front-court. Scott has a size advantage that he must utilize early and often.